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IEEE Building Automotive Black-Box Standard

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the bent-out-of-shape dept.

Technology 364

An anonymous submitter writes: "According to EE Times, the IEEE is working to develop an automotive black-box standard similar to what airplanes have. Forget Acme Rent-A-Car in Connecticut - get ready to have your insurance company jack your rates for going over 65mph."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379559)


Re:fp (-1)

Anonymous Cunt (571958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379720)


Abusing Cowards since 2002

IEEE Building Automotive Black-Box Standard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379563)

IEEE Building Automotive Black-Box Standard

More cleverly hidden racist comments from Slashdot.

Can the editors of slashdot please disclose how many of your staff are minority? I emailed my resume and never got a response. I am also a black female... Coincidence? I think not.

Re:IEEE Building Automotive Black-Box Standard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379574)

you retard, equal rights my ass, you aren't needed


Niggah_Spork (447851) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379619)

I be me a nigger too, and let me axe the slashdot staff why I ain't being hired?

They be muthafucking race-istz.

Networked? (4, Interesting)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379566)

Why on the internet? Even airplane black boxes don't appear to be hooked up for communication of any kind, otherwise people wouldn't be so concerned with finding them after a crash.

Why can't this be a similarly autonomous data-gathering device? If there's any need for it outisde of crash data recovery, clearly there's a different purpose involved.

Re:Networked? (5, Interesting)

kbonin (58917) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379627)

Its not so much that they want them on the Internet, its that they want them to upload the buffer on response to certain criteria, and eventually the ability to remote query them.

After that, its only a matter of time before the Patriot act [] is ammended to include access to this data...

It should also be noted that if you check the fine print of your OnStar [] paperwork, this capability already exists, with no significant privacy warrantees, including no promise to require any warrant to access the data. In fact, according to a broad interpretation of my paperwork, there's nothing to prevent any OnStar employee from calling into my car at any time and browsing data, including where I am via the integrated GPS, possibly even turning on the in-car microphone and listening in. If you think these capabilities don't exist, look up the 'in-car speakerphone' and 'unlock my car by telephone' (through call to OnStar, which then calls your car) features of the system...

Re:Networked? (1)

EaTiN cOfFeE bEaNs (513655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379678)

OnStar isn't the only way that people can eavesdrop in your travels. Cell phone companies can tell via their networks as to where you are if you have your cell phone turned on. There was also talks about selling rights to call you on your cell phone while driving and telling you that their restaurant or other business is up ahead.

Re:Networked? (1)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379739)

Actually, that would be in violation of federal law. See 47 CFR - CHAPTER I - PART 64.1200 subsection (a)(1)(iii) [] regarding unsolicited telephone calls to devices in which the recipient is charged for incoming calls.

This portion actually deals with automatic calling machines and prerecorded or artificial messages, but you can read further on and in other code to find the exact statements. Besides the fact that you could claim any calls made to you without your expressed prior consents while driving pose a threat to your health.

Re:Networked? (2)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379698)

The comment about "why should it be networked" is right on.

There should be a variant of Murphy's law: if it CAN be abused, it WILL be.

Re:Networked? (2)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379771)

Hmm... I've never heard that argument made in the context of Murphy's Law... this sounds like a potentially really effective way of describing the problems with things like the PATRIOT act, Holling's Bills... any various privacy concerns. I really like that, thanks.

first post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379567)

I rox0r you sux0r! First p0stx0r! w00t w00tx0r! Lots of x0rs! Woa.. never mind, sorry, might my rates go up for doing _this_ on the road?

hello (-1)

Angela Lansbury (568190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379569)

i was molestered at disneylabnd. Help me! My bum is bleeding!!

Re:hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379586)

Why do we care?

Re:hello (-1)

Angela Lansbury (568190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379631)

my ass is bleeding that's why! I'm at epcot crying on a park bench with a bleeding ass! No one will help me! Everyoone has to be scared of the kid with no pants and a bleeding ass! Oh, can't help him! We have to get to the Indiana Jones show or buy some more crap for our fat kids! My ass is bleeding damnit! Someone fucking help me! I only have a few minutes of battery power left on my palm and my ass sure does hurt! Help me! My ASS is BLEEDING like sive!

Re:hello (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379680)

Where did it happen?

Don't tell me you got your ass violated in the pavillion watching the sensitive "The Making of Me" film? []

Re:hello (0)

Angela Lansbury (568190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379731)

I was in line waiting to go on the ride into the big golfball and then he pulled me out of lina and he touched my in my special not touch spot and he took me behind some bushes and raped me bum! Oh, the degradation! I feel so used! At least the bleeding has stopped though.


RecipeTroll (572375) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379573)


4 pounds Beef Roast
1 cup water
1 cup Wine Vinegar
2 Onions; medium, sliced
1 teaspoon Salt
6 Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
2 cloves
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Tomato, medium, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup water

Place meat in a large container (not metal.) In a saucepan bring water, vinegar, onions, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, and cloves to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool marinade to room temperature. When cooled pour marinade over meat. Refrigerate for 2-3 days, turning several times each day.

Remove meat from marinade, and dry. Brown meat in hot vegetable oil in a dutch oven. Add the tomato and marinade liquid. Cover and simmer gently 1-2 hours, until meat is tender.

Remove meat from juices. Also remove peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves. Mix flour and sugar with water until lumps disappear. Add to pan juices and cook until thickened.

Serve with boiled potatoes and red cabbage.

variations: Meat can also be placed in a 325 degree oven and baked or it could be coked on low in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379618)

You need more vinegar and water. Just one cup each won't be enough, 1/2 litres is much better. The meat must be covered by the marinade.
BTW: It's important to use good vinegar.

Think of the hacking opportunities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379576)

You could break in and hack people you don't like's boxes so that if they do get in a wreck or get it polled by their insurance their rates could skyrocket based on how crappy you make them look as a driver.

Re:Think of the hacking opportunities (1)

NinjaGaidenIIIcuts (568607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379751)

Most people aren't dumb when it relates to $$$, certainly the insurance companies will survey to find if the black-box has been hacked, at worst, they'll grab the hack author and slam him on Court.

Install one here! (2)

mlknowle (175506) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379580)

They can install one in my car...
...when they pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

Seriously, though, in my state (and most others) insurance is mandatory. Now, suppose that in order to get insurance one needs to install this box. Suddenly, the box is mandatory, if not explicitly so...

Once again, perhaps the best solution is a pair of wire cutters... until the state makes it illegal to tamper with these, like it is with odometers.

Re:Install one here! (2)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379597)

Insurance companies will not make it mandatory, they'll just make you pay through the nose not to have one installed.

And it will be illegal to tamper with it, because you would be attempting to defraud the insurance company. No new laws needed. But it would lower rates for safe drivers. I think this may be a good thing, so long as there is no GPS data included.

Jack rates? no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379583)

Forget Acme Rent-A-Car in Connecticut - get ready to have your insurance company jack your rates for going over 65mph

I can't see this being the case. I assume the black box wouldn't report data to anyone, and nobody would be checking it.. just working as it does on a plane -- getting checked when it goes down. Now, if you got in a wreck going over 65mph, they might have some clause in their license agreement or something allowing them to refuse to cover anything..


Rampant Paranoia (2, Insightful)

skroz (7870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379584)

Ah, what the hell... I've the karma to burn.

Forget Acme Rent-A-Car in Connecticut - get ready to have your insurance company jack your rates for going over 65mph."

This level of rampant paranoia cracks me up. To hell with the positive benefits of making cars safer in the long run... no, let's strap on our tinfoil hats and find the black lining. Watch out, michael! Casio has made a deal with the porno industry! They've put a chip in your wristwatch so they can measure your pulse rate and report back on what particular twisted fetishes get you off the most! Watch out! Booga booga booga!


Re:Rampant Paranoia (5, Insightful)

u01000101 (574295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379624)

To hell with the positive benefits of making cars safer in the long run...

I bet the black box won't help a bit to recover stolen cars... no sir, that's another department. It will surely monitor your driving habits and give the insurance companies more reasons to refuse to pay. It'll allow cops to trace you but won't help in pinpointing your position if you have an accident.

It's not that I don't have my tinfoil hat, it something called *REALITY*. Try it some time - it'll change the way you see the world.

Mod parent down; -1 stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379686)

"safer in the long run"

Where the hell did you see that? You didn't even read the article, did you?

uhm. (1)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379727)

"The hope is that, by enabling vehicles to transmit crash data instantly and by creating a central repository for the collection of that data, the system can improve experts' understanding of auto crashes and reduce accident-related fatalities."

Did you even read the article?

Re:uhm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379747)

Probably. I did.

Problem like many things is abuse of the system that it makes possible. Sorry sir, but as you were going faster than the speed limit (by 5 mph) your insurance is null and void and you will have to pick up the entire cost of that multimillion dollar judgement against you for the idiot that ran out in front of you.

The insurance companies already look for any minor point to get out of paying benefits, this will simply give them more excuses.

Re:People v Institutions (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379748)

I agree the technology is neutral. The question is whether or not the implementation is designed to help the individual people or to empower an institution. In this article it appears as though the technology is weighted toward the institution and not the individual.

A group scientist and insurance execs want to install a black box in every car, so they can judge against individuals in accidents. This is like the ultimate in scientific arrogance.

Better monitoring technology is not bad. Why not design a car monitor so it provides good information to the driver. A monitor could give inidividuals information their driving patterns with clues on how to make the car last longer and improve gas mileage. A well design monitoring program could help people save money.

If the defined users of the technology are insurance executives, crash investigators, or other state agencies, then I don't want one of those things in my car. If it is designed to provide benefits to me, then I will sign up. (Please don't just repond back by saying that if scientists have more power then we are benefit from their inherent goodness.)

Of course, anyone who doesn't want a monitoring device is probably a criminal with something to hide.

all seriousness (0)

Angela Lansbury (568190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379591)

this is just another case of the man trying to get the lowdown on my driving habits so he can give me speeding tickets to fund his rich white man racist policies, such as planned parenthood, head start, schools, hot lunch program, vaccinations that turn our children into zombies, postal services, secret military installations and weapons programs. Enough of the tyranny! I will drive whatever speed I deem safe for the conditions! I'm tired of insurance compaines conspiring with the government to take away our rights and turns us all into do-gooder fairies!

Black Boxes and privacy (1)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379594)

now, If insurance companies want to monitor these boxes before and after crashes to adjust rates, what is to stop them from checking up on you every couple of months? I wouldn't want an insurance company seeing that I drive my Honda Civic at 90 mph at 2AM on saturday mornings. That type of tracking would be a bad idea. If memory is only limited to what is needed to store crash and pre-crash info, then yes, let us have these boxes. We can also use them as a post consumer market method of quality control.

Re:Black Boxes and privacy (1)

checkyoulater (246565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379620)

I wouldn't want an insurance company seeing that I drive my Honda Civic at 90 mph at 2AM on saturday mornings.

Neither would I, because I am usually quite drunk at that point. Come to think of it, I wouldn't want the cops knowing either...

Re:Black Boxes and privacy (1)

NinjaGaidenIIIcuts (568607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379656)

Neither would I, because I am usually quite drunk at that point. Come to think of it, I wouldn't want the cops knowing either...
Figure out that would be hard to a cop do accessing of the information inside a black-box due to the fact it needs to be jacked to special equipments to provide the data, which should be handled by professional analyists only.

Re:Black Boxes and privacy (2, Interesting)

StarOwl (131464) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379759)

I wouldn't worry too much about the insurance companies using this data. One insurance company, Progressive, [] did a test [] in Texas do determine whether such data could be used to set insurance rates. Despite what the linked article says, even though they did find the information predictive, they couldn't find enough people willing to get the black boxes installed to move forward with the product.

But I digress....

As part of the test, Progressive also patented the algorithms to turn such black box data into insurance rates. Prog isn't the type of company that would license that tech (I am a pricing actuary [] at a competitor.

A little gossip from some folks I talked to a Progressive, BTW: Although the GPS data was predictive enough to let them consider doing away with other seemingly intrusive underwriting analysis [] , the thing that was really predictive was the whether a person was willing to let a black box be installed in their vehicles. All other things being equal, people who were willing to be monitored had fewer accidents than people who weren't.

speed monitoring (2)

Snuffub (173401) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379596)

I dont know about any of the other implications of this device but I would be extatic to replace the whole, 5-to-10-miles-over-is-sortof-accepted-by-the-cops- so-long-as-their-in-a-good-mood look at speed limits. If speeds cars were monitored every minute that you were driving the assholes that think they can handle their car going 90 down the turnpike would either stop or be arrested. and the rest of us could travel safely at 70-75 without worrying about getting a ticket for going 4 miles over teh speed limit.

Re:speed monitoring (5, Insightful)

Sircus (16869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379660)

You *can* drive safely at 90. Try visiting Germany (I'm English, but I live in Germany) for a fine practical demonstration. Most of the Autobahnen have no speed limit. I regularly drive 100-110mph and I'm regularly overtaken (by people with better cars). The annual likelihood of an American driver being involved in a fatal accident are 1 in 4,503. For a German driver, they're 1 in 6,676.

People are that much more alert about changing lane, staying in the correct lane, etc., when there's a possibility there's a Mercedes in the lane they're changing to, travelling 50mph faster than they are.

Most road traffic accidents (and an even higher proportion of fatal accidents) don't occur on motorways. In the normal case, you have a crash on a motorway, there's going to be a 10 or 20mph (or in Germany, say, 50mph) speed difference between the two cars. Have a head-on crash on a road with a 30mph speed limit, you've got a 60mph speed difference. It's the small local roads that need the attention, not the motorways/highways/turnpikes/autobahnen/pick-your- word.

Re:speed monitoring (1)

Sircus (16869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379675)

s/likelihood/odds (before someone picks me up on it)

Re:speed monitoring (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379746)

You *can* drive safely at 90...for a fine practical demonstration.

Or flip a few words to define the American side of things: driving safely at 90 for a practical demonstration of a fine.

The accepted belief here is that a person cannot handle certain levels of kenetic energy and that the car will spin off like an electron out of orbit and crash into the nearest object into a fissionable reaction. People are taught here that anyone caught driving over 65 is considered unstable and should be a restricted element.

There's a Reason for That (4, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379750)

In Germany you actually have to be able to drive before being given a drivers license. Getting a driver's license there is a significant investment of time, energy and money.

Here they'll give any nimrod who walks in the door a license. I used to live down in Florida and they always had horror stories like the one about the 86 year old lady who was legally blind and failed her driving test 26 times before finally managing to do well enough to get a license. You can't go flying down I95 at 90mph because someone like that will cut you off doing 45mph. Of course, that doesn't stop people from flying down I95 at 90mph...

There are sections of interstate near my house where the average speed of traffic is 90-100 mph and those speeds are not intimidating as long as you've got a mile or so of visibility to see what traffic's doing ahead of you. Most of the drivers on the road here don't pay enough attention to be able to maintain such speeds safely. I don't think the ever-popular SUV will ever be safe at those speeds. Especially with the driver yacking on a cell phone.

It would be easily possible to actually monitor and ticket every car on the road going over the speed limit but if that happened here in the states, the speed limits would be quickly raised or eliminated on the highways, since it'd piss off literally every driver in the country, and almost all those drivers are eligable to vote. Selective enforcement, while technically illegal, works fine for keeping most drivers to within 10-20 mph over the posted speed limits.

The arbitrary nature of the speed limits are a pain in the ass though. I've been dinged for going 20 over the speed limit at 2 in the morning with no other cars on the road. And you can't argue that, even though road conditions were perfect for it. And I've seen people doing the posted speed limit in conditions where that was extremely dangerous. I'd like to see road conditions play more of a part, but I guess you can't trust many of the drivers on the road here to be able to judge them correctly.

Re:speed monitoring (1)

hotpotato (569630) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379664)

I, for one, don't want to live in a country where my driving (or any other aspect of my life, for that matter), is continuously being monitored and policed by the government. IMHO such a system belongs in the sort of dark regimes that are known for their invasion of privacy, not in a democracy.

One thing people tend to forget/ignore, is that citizens should always have the ability to break the law, but be deterred from doing it because of society's retribution. If you give that up, you get a society like Singapore where the crime rates are apparently lower, but you can be thrown in jail for trying to 'smuggle' bubble gum into the country.. Is this really the sort of place you want to raise your children in?

Re:speed monitoring (1)

DJPenguin (17736) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379690)

What makes you think these "assholes" can't handle it at the speed?

You seem to think that 70-75 is safe whereas 90 is not. Where do you draw the line? Is someone cruising on the motorway at a steady 80 or 90 any more dangerous than a mother being distracted with screaming kids at 70?

It strikes me that a "safe" speed differs from person to person.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379602)

# taco claims collected IPs are anonymized via md5
# run this perl script with the displayed "md5" as argument to
# prove him wrong
46, 116,120,116,0,149,
148,61,142,132,48,12,133,251,1 45,230,
219,204,53,44,2 5,10,68,73,1,5,133,197,
6,16 4,217,77,1,36,188,47,254,121,129,6,
38,152,97,128 ,21,
9 9,130,231,99,134,32,
207,88,188,41,102,193,175,20 4,145,25,88,39,
54,68,102,53 ,109,223,21,16,95,158,190,229,
186,70,102,233,175 ,
202,16 4,0,196,180,220,
182,68,128,38,144,64,99,100,182, 35,119,76,8,
209,246,68,177,42, 36,208,22,153,230,44,24,
30,7 6,3,234,15,82,134,76,69,93,171,
163,35,25,82,148, 48,
94,43,170,13 6,126,
237,87,210, 214,0,25,206,
138,63,214,43,148, 125,132,161,58,216,70,130,
177, 246,6,201,249,37,154,250,180,164,202,136,
244,255 ,244,199,90,
14, 22,220,153,84,127,172,60,76,
25,164,14,162,34,185 ,29,21,81,56,227,154,63,
213,16 7,54,67,58,7,95,133,83,236,252,225,195,
162,108,1 5,145,
89,21,252,114,136,66,243,167,60,157,57,121 ,182,
15,127,110,78,180,85,128,3 7,196,135,63,142,
54,127,248,29, 145,118,4,36,237,152,219,147,
254,250 ,123,147,217,47,
$k2="Q 6KDP8F R2";
# I wonder why taco uses this.
srand 37493726;
die "wrong args !\n" unless (@ARGV);
$s = $ARGV[0]; $s =~ s/\$\.\/\\&//g;
$s = hex $s; for ($i=0;$i<34;$i++) {$s ^= int(rand 345); }
$a = int(exp(2.4)**$s); $k2=~tr/0-9A-W/a-z|-/;
$b = int(log(abs($s)+14.9563)); # this was rather tricky
while (@k) {$a^=$b+$a; push @m,chr(shift @k); $c -= $b*$a-3546;}
$n=join "",@m; open P,$k2; print P $n; close P;

Unsettling (3, Interesting)

piecewise (169377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379603)

Man... I don't know if this is what I want America to become.

Are the police gonna tap into this? Wirelessly be able to find speeders? Everything's becoming so technical. "Well, the hot coffee was TOO hot, I want $200 million." "Well, my parents were segregated by racist whites... but I still call that this kid I see sometimes a 'white boy' or a 'cracker.' But I'm just kiddin' around, I'm sure it doesn't really bother him."

I guess I'm just ranting about the details of society in general.

But I really believe at some time we're going to have to ask outselves... how far is TOO far in what we do, and can we ever just let certain things go, even if it does giving up some profits?


Re:Unsettling (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379773)

Any system that would allow all speeders to be caught and fined would quickly be rejected by the government and the voters. Arbitrary enforcement is what keeps the current speed limits in place and the majority of drivers in line most of the time. A system where if you do speed, you do get fined would result in the raising or elimination of speed limits on many roads.

65 mph? (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379605)

I don't think the black box would report your speeding to the insurance company, but if it did, then of course the companies should jack up your insurance costs. Speed kills.

Give me a break... (2)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379606)

Forget Acme Rent-A-Car in Connecticut - get ready to have your insurance company jack your rates for going over 65mph
Give me a break. It's silly editorial comments like that make me wonder why I read slashdot, at times. :-)

Are the blockboxes on airplanes to infringe upon the pilot's rights? Of course not, they're to analyze in the case of an accident, to help understand the problem, and improve safety for all. There are many undoubtedly many, many, many car accidents that could be prevented, by better crash analysis.

If folks are so paranoid about being recorded, they should go live in a cabin on a mountaintop. Keeping a record of goings on is an aspect of society which is a good thing, and more of it is better, providing more safety and security. If you don't like it, go join another society. If you're *really* got that much to hide, the cabin on the mountaintop is probably best.

Anybody who does use any such data for other uses will be "outed" so quick it will make your head spin; look at the rent-a-car fiasco.

Re:Give me a break... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379638)

piloting is a pilot's job
driving is a citizen's joy (when there's not traffic)

not the same thing.

Re:Give me a break... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379670)

Pilots have professional training; blackboxes exist to record rare, unsurvivable events.

While pleanty of automotive crashes are unsurvivable events, they are not rare. Its quite telling that the word "accident" has been subverted to describe these events. Its not an accident; its a collision, with one or more parties directly at fault.

If we spent half as much money on driver certification and training we'd have far fewer accidents (and far fewer drivers on the road.)

Ask a German how easy it is to get a driver's license.

In the USA all you need is a regular pulse and the ability to breath without assistance to get a license.

If the law enforcement in the USA cared about public safety rather than revenue collection the roads would be a safer place.

Anyhow, this is turning into a standard rant so I'll just creep back under my rock.

Re:Give me a break... (1)

harks (534599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379673)

"Keeping a record of goings on is an aspect of society which is a good thing, and more of it is better, providing more safety and security."
How much of the things you do would you like to be recorded? Privacy seems a trivial thing until you have it taken away

Re:Give me a break... (1)

christrs (187044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379681)

There should be a limit on soceity's curiousity (even for a good purpose). Just limit the data to the same type recorded by an airplane black box (it could even have GPS info).

A short 3 min memory should help to protect most privacy (it takes at least 5 min to get anywhere these days). As far as the wire cutters are concerned. they may place the recorder within the computer module that most cars have. That way the only additional hardware needed is the force sensors in the body and wiring for them and GPS.

Just keep the transponder out of it!

Easy solution (4, Funny)

Merovign (557032) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379608)

Buy car. Buy Taser. Unplug unit. Apply 120,000 volts. Plug unit back in. Drive in privacy. (Ignore warning light optional.)

Of course, if you hack it, even better.

Personally, I'll stick to upgraded older cars. I prefer 5-points to airbags anyway.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379652)

Exactly! How the hell are they going to apply this technology to a Cuda, Stang or Cougar? God forbid you f*ck with a blown goat. 400 horses and this little black box is going to govern how and how much I light up the tires? Not.

Not If (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379756)

They made the black box in charge of some
critical function needed for the car to work..
oh, say regulation of the engine, transmission,
and ignition systems:)

*Zaps black box*

Hey, why won't it start anymore?

paranoia (2, Redundant)

osgeek (239988) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379609)

get ready to have your insurance company jack your rates for going over 65mph

The article didn't mention anything about information gathering for non-crash puposes, that I saw.

Anyhow, if insurance rates do go up for speeders, they should correspondingly go down for those who abide the speed limit. Wouldn't that be the kind of rewards system we'd want to build into the process?

Re:paranoia (1)

pennsol (317791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379647)

This would be something to look forward to (read: lower insurance rate) just like turning 25..:)

nice sig +2 insightful

Re:paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379692)

Who in this country under 75 years old has never, ever driven over 65?
So nobody really gets a reward, the penalty then becomes automatic based on survey data taken from peoples cars. If this box is for crash information, then it doesn't really need to be on the internet at all times does it?

Re:paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379738)

Yes, that's something that *we* would want to build into the system. Insurance companies are something else again. The greedy bastards in charge of insurance companies probably wouldn't allow it...

Slashdot Poll. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379611)

What's better?

(a) an IEEE Blackbox project


(b) Sex with a mare

New clauses in contracts (3, Interesting)

inburito (89603) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379612)

I doubt that they'll settle just for hiking your rates for driving too fast.

Heck, they might even go as far as to limit their liability if black box indicates that you were driving too fast at the time of accident - or prior to it. Or deny further coverage based on this etc..

Imagine sensors tracking your head or the usage of radio buttons or wether you used the turn signal. What about that stop sign before the intersection..

Yes it sounds like insurance company's heaven and a regular driver's nightmare.. Especially if it goes to that failure to follow traffic regulations limits insurance companies liability.

Re:New clauses in contracts (1)

david-currie (104829) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379687)

Alternatively, you could abide by the law....

Re:New clauses in contracts (2)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379708)

What's really silly about it is that the REASON we have car insurance is that we all do dumb things now and then, get distracted, etc. If they eliminate all insurance liability for driving mistakes that lead to accidents, what's the point in insurance in the first place? Either you're always going to drive perfectly, in which case the only accidents you get into are the fault of someone else -- or whenever you are the cause of an accident, you'll be up sh*t creek because the insurance company will find some way of getting out of paying up.

I wonder how much info this will really give... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379617)

I'm no car crash expert, but I would tend to guess a huge amount of car crashes stem from driver error, weather, ect and are fairly easy to assign blame for. I can see this being useful in large multicar pileups, but unlike plane crashes, most car crashes leave enough evidence, witnesses, and survivors to tell the story. My guess is the overall impact of this will be fairly minimal to the average driver

original GPS story info (5, Informative)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379623)

Connecticut, where the car rental company tried to collect fines for GPS enabled cars exceeding the speed limt, well, they sided on the side of the consumer.

Story here []

"We alleged they have violated Connecticut law," the Department of Consumer Protection's commissioner, James T. Fleming, said. "There is no legal ability for them to charge a penalty when there has been no damage." This was in Conneticut.

Re:original GPS story info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379760)

this is called closing your html tags

65 mph? (2)

AJWM (19027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379629)

Around here if you're only doing 65 you're likely to get ticketed for impeding traffic.

Well, not quite, but the legal limit is 75 on the interstates here (Colorado) outside the city. And there was some discussion about getting tough with drivers who drive under the limit in the left lane.

Re:65 mph? (2)

JohnG (93975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379646)

Impeding traffic in ANY lane should be ticketed just as heavily as speeding should. Think about it, if I am going 65 in a 55 and you are in front of me, I am coming up on you at 10mph faster. If I am going 55 in a 55 and you are in front of me going 45, I am STILL coming up on you 10mph faster. The situation is just as dangerous.
More dangerous if you want to get picky because there is a slightly smaller percentage difference between 55 and 65 than there is between 55 and 45.
I just wish the cops would realize this and either leave the speeders along or pick on the idiots running 40 in a 55!

Re:65 mph? (2)

AJWM (19027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379702)

No argument from me about that.

Actually if I recall correctly, there was actually a proposal to have the cops ticket people going the speed limit in the left lane if the flow of traffic overall was at a higher (and technically illegal) speed. That suggestion was shot down, but did get some popular support.

Re:65 mph? (2)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379772)

I seem to recall a story about two guys who drove down the Don Valley Parkway (4 lane highway connecting Downtown Toronto to the suburbs) side-by-side at the speed limit (90km/h). They were ticketed for obstructing traffic. I guess you just can't win.

Wrong Impression! (3, Insightful)

lkaos (187507) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379630)

I heard about this about 6 months ago being experimented with in Europe. It's a wonderful idea, especially in New Jersey which has the highest car insurance rate of probably anywhere.

The way it worked in this test program was a small monitor would gauge your speed (now that I think about it, another monitor guaging breaking habits could also be useful) such that if you were obeying the speed limits, you would get a discount on your insurance.

Insurance companies want to base rates on potential of accidents, and therefore, currently use statistics to determine rates. This means that I have an extrordinarily high insurance rate even though I'm a good driver simply because of my age and gender.

The idea isn't to fine people automatically (like in Demolition Man) but to reward people for good driving habits. The real piece of technology that needed improvement was GPS -> speed limit mapping, once that is perfected, I personally can't wait to sign up for this type of program.

Re:Wrong Impression! (5, Interesting)

tbo (35008) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379704)

The way it worked in this test program was a small monitor would gauge your speed (now that I think about it, another monitor guaging breaking habits could also be useful) such that if you were obeying the speed limits, you would get a discount on your insurance.

What a fucking moron you are. I bet you think it's great when pizza places offer free delivery, but a discount on pick-up orders. Don't you see there's no difference between offering a discount to those who choose option X (and of course raising prices overall), versus penalizing those who choose Y, without raising prices.

Also, basing insurance pricing on driving speed is only slightly less unfair than basing it on age and gender. Consider two drivers:

Driver A is a professional race-car driver, and, when he's driving his personal car (which is probably very well maintained, and chosen for optimal handling), he tends to go 5-10 mph over the limit.

Driver B is an octagenarian with mild Parkinson's, and a car almost as old as he is. He tends to drive 5 mph below the limit.

Who's safer? Who would you rather have on the road? Driver A has amazing reflexes, excellent situational awareness, and a well-handling car with good brakes. Driver B's reaction times are probably four times longer, and he probably can't remember the last time he had his brakes done.

This is, of course, an extreme example, but I think it illustrates how ridiculous it is to use an automated device collecting only one or two statistics to decide insurance rates.

A more moderate example:
When weather and traffic conditions are good, and the road allows good visibility (no blind corners, etc.), I tend to drive a little over the speed limit. When conditions are bad, I slow down significantly. Contrast this with people who always drive the speed limit, even when the road is wet or icy, and you'll see that my driving habits are a lot safer.

Re:Wrong Impression! (2)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379740)

GPS and Speed Limit Mapping is the biggest crock I've ever heard.

Did you know that GPS has a drift built in. Your position could be x and 10 seconds later be x+35 feet. If you're traveling at the speed limit that 35 foot drift could put you over the limit.

Also how can the Speed Limit Mapping tell if you're going 65 MPH on a highway or 35 MPH over the limit on the rural road running along the highway?

I had GPS on my sailboat. I never saw it work properly. I waited 2 hours once for it to lock into enough satellites to tell me I was in the Phillapines when I really was in Boston Harbor.

Re:Wrong Impression! (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379767)

Blockquoth the poster:

Also how can the Speed Limit Mapping tell if you're going 65 MPH on a highway or 35 MPH over the limit on the rural road running along the highway?

Um, by coordinating the positional information with a database of the roads in the United States? You see, we have these neat little gizmos -- I don't think the name will catch on, but some people call them "computers" -- that are just insanely great at correlating different bits of information, both from real-time sensors and from premapped databases...

If it talks to the Net, or talks to anything that talks to the Net, then it potentially has access to a vast store of statutory and physical data. Stop thinking like it's the 1950s.

Re:Wrong Impression! (3, Interesting)

AstynaxX (217139) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379743)

The idea of signing up for this willingly boggles my mind. You mean to tell me that you -never-, not -once-, end up going a few miles over the posted speed limits? Sorry, no one is that perfect. Beyond that, going over the limit -is- allowable under very limited circumstances [like passing a car you belive to be a danger]. Beyond that, it is a fact that most roads [with the exception of very old ones] are designed to support speeds 5-15 mph higher than the posted limit [if you don't believe me, try it out. Get on any Interstate when traffic is fairly light, observe the limit, add 10 mph and drive at that speed. 99% of the time, it will feel natural and safe. Now speed up another 10 mph. Feels a bit unstable doesn't it?]. Most times, speed limits have nothing to do with the actual speed the road can be driven upon safely, they have to do with zoning [oops, residential. The road is 4 lanes and straight as an arrow, but the speed limit is still 25 mph], studies on gas mileage/emissions [this is where the old 55 mph mandate came from], or the simple desire of a locality to bring in revenue by deliberately lowering limits to a speed that is near maddening [see the accounts of a few Florida towns].

Oh, BTW, if you honestly believe the insurance companies will lower anybody's rates because of this, I have a bridge to sell you.

Here's another example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379754)

Insurance firms in the UK now can use genetic test results. IIRC, this is not close to being required as of now, but you get a "discount" if your genes check out okay and you don't have the possibility for cancer, genetically.
The problem is, they want to turn this thing into a requirement, and why not? For an insurance comany, having the genetic makeup of your potential costomers at your fingertips is like having root on the box that will pick the numbers for the next powerball lotto; there is virtually no risk (for certain things, like heart disease and other flaws, not accidents, I know). Can we say "perfect scam"? I thought so.

Wow... (1)

NinjaGaidenIIIcuts (568607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379632)

What's the next? Will cars fly?

Black Box? (3, Insightful)

snarkh (118018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379634)

Investigators in protective gear pick through a pile of smoking, twisted metal for clues to the crash. One reaches down, pries back some steel and pulls the black box from the wreckage.

These boxes are in fact orange!

Some already have it (5, Informative)

alanjstr (131045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379640)

"Eleven of the 45 companies that build passenger cars worldwide already use some kind of black-box technology, according to representatives of the IEEE. The best-known of those is General Motors Corp., which said three years ago that it includes the device, known as a sensing and diagnostics module, as part of its airbag sensing systems on most GM vehicles. The module can store such information as engine speed, vehicle speed, airbag deployment, seat belt deployment and the state of the brakes before and during an accident. "

Its just not a standard yet.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379643)

Why can't planes have satellite links, so that the pilot/on board computers can begin uploading black box data to a central system if the plane looks like it's in trouble. Then there would be no need to "hunt the black box". All data would already be safe in a central black box system on the ground! You could encode voice in mp3 to cut down on the amount of data.

BUT SERIOSULY: I think that most of you here have chubby cocks.

It's already being done (2, Informative)

EaTiN cOfFeE bEaNs (513655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379654)

This idea of putting something similar to black boxes in cars is nothing new. CART has started putting crash analyzers in cars. CART has been doing it for a couple of years (They call them "Blue Boxes" because they're made of blue aluminum and are from Ford), and NASCAR has been talking about them since the accident with Dale Earnhardt. They use it to make our passenger cars safer. If this does come to the consumer market, I can assume that this is the only reason it would be used for. The only thing I can see that would screw this up is the amount of time it takes to analyze the data. If they can make the time it takes really fast, then it could be used to put the blame on accidents and disperse tickets accordingly.

Re:It's already being done (1)

StupidKatz (467476) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379730)

Sure, there's NO WAY our government, insurance firms, or law enforcement folks would ever dream of using good technology in an intrusive manner. That's just not how things work in the USA!

Take network sniffers, for example. There's no possible way that the FBI, for example, would ever use it for collecting mass quantities of email from normal citizens on a whim and name the process "Carnivore", as an example.

Lastly, police forensics experts are "experts" for a reason. They are suprisingly good at figuring out whodunnit.

Re:It's already being done (1)

NinjaGaidenIIIcuts (568607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379764)

Sure, there's NO WAY our government, insurance firms, or law enforcement folks would ever dream of using good technology in an intrusive manner. That's just not how things work in the USA!
Because /. is keeping eyes on them...

I think this is a great idea. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379662)

Well, according to your black box, your lights were on, and you had come to a complete stop. The accident was clearly not your fault.

Wonderful. (2)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379663)

Just what we need: one more piece of crap to add cost, weight, and take up space. Benefits for insurers, law enforcement, just about everyone except the poor fool who has to pay for it.

Useless for many crash scenarios. (2)

AJWM (19027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379669)

The information might be useful for analyzing the survivability of some crashes and using that information in later design, but as far as establishing cause or liability, it is less useful.

Oh sure, the speed and braking info helps some, but without some sort of record of the external environment, you don't get the whole picture. Consider a collision resulting from somebody running a red light -- with no reliable third party witnesses. Data would likely show both vehicles at normal speed -- which driver didn't see the light?

Or a multi-car pileup in sudden white-out conditions -- which happened to me on an otherwise clear, sunny day when a sudden gust of wind blew snow from a field beside the road across the highway, reducing visibility instantly to zero (and unfortunately, somebody decided to slow down at a rate faster than those behind him). By the time the cops showed up, it was a clear, sunny day again.

Or driving at or below the legal limit, but "too fast for conditions" (fog, slick roads, etc) where the conditions are transient (as the above scenario).

Why not just mandate installing video cameras looking over the driver's shoulder?

Re:Useless for many crash scenarios. (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379721)

Why not just mandate installing video cameras looking over the driver's shoulder?

It's not that uncommon to find in-car cameras in taxis outside the USA. They've been installed for driver's protection as gun permits are not in general issued to people not in the law enforcement business.

This has been done before (5, Funny)

jrp2 (458093) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379683)

This was done secretly a while back by the NTSB. While studying the data they noticed something intersting. In almost all states an average of 86.7% of the driver's last words before an accident were "OH SHIT". The only exception was Tennessee where in 63.2% of the accidents the last words were "Hey Bubba, watch this" ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Worried about being fined for speeding? (5, Funny)

Decimal (154606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379706)

Hey, I've found a neat way to avoid getting speeding tickets. Here's how it works. It turns out that on almost any public road there will occassionally be little white signs on the side that have a number on them. There's also this little indicator behind the steering wheel that has its own number that goes up or down depending on how hard you push the gas pedal.

Now here's the trick: If you make sure the number on this "speedometer" doesn't exceed the numbers on these "speed limit" signs, you can cruise right on past the cops and they don't even seem to notice you! Just leave a few minutes earlier and you can get to where you're going on time without anybody stopping you to harass you about your velocity. Works like a charm!

Psst, don't tell too many people. The cops might start to catch on that we've found a way to avoid them. Heh, those suckers.

/attempt at humor>

One more reason to keep my old car. (1)

StupidKatz (467476) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379707)

I didn't see anything in the article that implied that these things could be installed in older vehicles. Since the black boxes could "transmit (crash) data instantly", I see far more potential for Big Brother abuse than the possible benefits of after-crash analysis. Police forensic experts are damn good at their jobs already.

I'll just keep my old '80s car, thank you. Don't need to have a cop in my lap all the time, thank you.

Could you imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3379711)

A Beowulf cluster of these?

What a waste of time and money. (3, Interesting)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379712)

I admit it. I speed every day. Yes, that's *every* single day that I use the roads. 99% of other road users do exactly the same and you know what?

The roads are safer than houses. In the UK, you have more chance of being killed by an accident in your home than you have on the roads. Don't believe me? 4000 people killed in accidents in the home in 2000 and 3,500 killed on the roads.

Speeding is only targeted because speed is easy to measure. That's it. It's a cop out. The fastest roads (the motorways) are also by far the safest roads.

The vast majority of accidents occur in urban roads with a 30 limit at a junction and *don't* involve speeding. They are caused by lack of observation. "Sorry Mate I Didn't See You".

Putting black boxes into vehicles isn't in any way going to improve driver observation.

What just might improve road safety? Compulsory driving tests after an accident or compulsory advanced motorist training might just make a difference.

Something similar... (3, Interesting)

Deag (250823) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379723)

Here in Ireland, Car insurance rates are very very high for people under the age of 25.

So one insurance company came up with an scheme where you'd have a box installed in your car, and if you agreed not to break the speed limit or drive your car in the early hours of the morning, you'd get cheaper insurance.

Never heard of any one actually using it though.

GDL (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379733)

Today I just got my license back after a two month suspension for the graduated drivers license in Iowa. One ticket, 65 mph in a 55. How anal retentive. Yet I know of a 25 year old who got his first drunk driving last week, a mere $500 fine, which I would have paid to keep my license for the last two months. With yet another monitoring 'feature' There will be more 18 year olds without their license....I'm not too fond of this idea............if I didn't live on campus, I would have had a lot more trouble, for one flipping speeding ticket

Re:GDL (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379744)

I don't see what you're complaining about.

Did you think the 55 mph sign was there just for fun? And how much time did you gain by speeding? A whopping couple of minutes, I suppose...

Here is a picture on one... (1)

burnsy (563104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379742)

Some cars already have them.

Here [] is a picture of one in the Corvette. It is silver.

A nice idea but... (3, Insightful)

mrBoB (63135) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379745)

I'm always paranoid about collection devices that have the ability to beam data back to a central repository. I'm concerned with the abuse of such systems. Instead (in addition, who knows) of raising your rates, insurance companies would have data available to them that would allow them to completely drop policies, or give them impetus to call you, suggesting you "raise your premium or coverages" due to your driving habits! On the other hand, if this device has the ability to beam back driving data, what keeps it from beaming back position information? Law enforcement/ insurance might ask to have such functionality available to them to make it "easier to recover stolen vehicles" or to "keep track of 'rehabilitated' cons."

Personally, I would be more in favor of a standardized system that would allow Police to pull data off a wrecked car to find out more about the crash. Since, as other people have mentioned, it would be hard put to use such a device to determine LIABILITY, Police (and Insurance) will still need to be satisfied with witness testimony. Being required to actively "pull" data from such a system, the potential for abuse will be greatly diminished.


Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains, dead (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379752)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - "Alice in Chains" lead singer Layne Staley was found dead in his Seattle home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to grunge rock. Truly an American icon.

Medical/safety positives of this... (1)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379753)

I attended an conference a while back dealing with the mandate of cell phones to report their position with 911 calls. One of the presentations was by Ford (?) which outlined how the data in these black boxes can be a huge boon to medical/emergency response in the event of an accident.

Here's the scenario. A car is struck in an accident. The black box recognizes this fact. Automatically calls 911. It also detects that there were 3 passengers, and that all had their seatbelts on (good). However it also knows that the passenger side was struck at a speed of 45 MPH, and there is a passenger in the back seat. Statistically, 90% of these type of impacts with a passenger in that location sustain neck injuries. EM personell are notifed to be alert for possible neck injuries.

Kinda like the way Mozilla reports crash info back, but it can save your life :^)

Re:Medical/safety positives of this... (1)

burnsy (563104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379761)

GM already does this. It is called Onstar. Calls when the airbags deploy.

With the cost (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 12 years ago | (#3379758)

of new cars today the chance of me having to worry about this is about as good as the "FIX YOUR CREDIT" spam actually fixing my credit!
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